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Art Rooney II Details What the Next Step for Kenny Pickett Looks Like

The next step for Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett has to start with him elevating others.



Pittsburgh Steelers QB Kenny Pickett
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Kenny Pickett against the Buffalo Bills, Jan. 15, 2024 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Pittsburgh Steelers brought on offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, in part, to help quarterback Kenny Pickett. While that was not the only reason, it seems the team wants to give their first-round pick from 2022 another shot at being the answer to the franchise without the shackles of Matt Canada calling the plays.

But throughout Pickett’s first two seasons in the NFL, the team has not scored many points under his guidance. That, naturally, leads to many questions about where the team goes from here, but it seems they have some confidence in Pickett. In an interview with Bob Pomepeani of KDKA-TV on Tuesday, team president Art Rooney said the team was unprepared to rule out any method of acquiring another quarterback to compete with Pickett.

“As we sit here in early February, we’re not closing the door on anything,” Rooney said when asked about a potential for a trade. “We have a lot of evaluations to go through. We’ll go through all the options and do what we need to do to be better this coming season.”

But what does an actual step forward look like for the Steelers and Pickett? Rooney gave a straightforward answer: points better start showing up on the scoreboard. Without that, there are no true signs of progress in the offense. While giving no concrete answer on the traits that Pickett must show, if he does improve, the points should come anyways.

“The next step, number one, would look like more points, week in and week out,” Rooney said. “Just being a more effective offense, continuing to do some of the things we were able to do this year in terms of ball control, being able to run effectively, but then add on top of that, scoring more touchdowns.”

The Steelers also have a decision to make about backup quarterback Mason Rudolph, who had supplanted Pickett by the end of the 2023 season. Rooney was quick to point out that Rudolph has a decision to make, too, and did not sound especially confident about the Steelers being able to bring back the veteran.

“He is a free agent. We’ll see,” Rooney said. “He may have options, too. We’ve kept the door open to continue those conversations.”

The team’s unsettled quarterback position will continue to be a storyline to monitor for the Steelers throughout the 2024 offseason. Still, more than that, Pickett’s development will remain the biggest topic for the team’s future.